David Whitney Building

The David Whitney Building is one of downtown Detroit's hidden gems, and part of its comeback story.

Designed by Daniel Burnham and Built in 1915, the Whitney was named for industrialist David Whitney, who was active in Detroit's commercial development. The first four floors are a shopping arcade lined with rich terracotta sculptures, lit from above by a light well that runs down the center of the building. The upper floors were offices filled with doctors, dentists, and accountants.

Much of the Whitney's exterior ornamentation was removed in 1959 as part of a modernization effort. By the 1980's downtown was in a tailspin, and the Whitney lost most of its occupants. The building closed in 1999, and went into a period of long dormancy.

Unlike other downtown skyscrapers, the David Whitney building avoided serious damage from scrappers and vandals. As downtown bounced back in the 2010's, the Broderick Tower across the street was renovated in 2013. Plans to renovate the Whitney were announced the same year, with work beginning in 2014. The renovated David Whitney Tower opened in early 2015, featuring luxury apartments and an upscale hotel.

For more history about this building, check out HistoricDetroit.org's article.